Before we endeavour to answer this question for you, we should briefly explain our own involvement in pharma and biotech. At Resonate, we help organisations in this sector increase their operational agility and reduce time to market by leveraging their investment in O365 and Microsoft Teams. These platforms provide a single interface for communication, collaboration and access to key data sources, which as we will cover shortly is perfectly aligned with McKinsey’s themes for the industry.
With first-hand experience, we understand how important it is for organisations in this sector to bring their best people together in the most seamless way possible. We appreciate that it’s also vital to try and simplify administrative workflows without sacrificing all-important compliance.
So, let’s get back to McKinsey and the opinions expressed in their compelling article ‘Biopharma 2020: A landmark year and a reset for the future.’ As well as looking back to outline the overarching trends for the year just been, the article also looks forward as it outlines ten critical themes for CEOs in the sector to consider.
We’d like to take a close look at two of those critical themes which are particularly interesting from our point of view. These are ‘surging in digital, data and analytics’ and ‘investing in enterprise technology’.
The McKinsey article asserts that the pandemic has spurred digital transformation to such an extent that some experts believe the biopharma industry has moved further in the last ten months than it did in the previous ten years. The rapid development of digital ecosystems and the use of digital channels to engage with physicians and principal investigators are both examples of this.
They go on to argue that, although companies had embarked on their digital and analytics journeys long before the pandemic, many had now begun to show much greater ambition and a keener sense of urgency.
The disruptions of the past year have prompted many pharma and biotech companies to revisit their go-to-market models, while others are looking to predictive analytics to help them optimise their site footprints or scale up their use of real-world evidence as part of a broader reimagining of the drug-development model.
Those weren’t the only interesting changes that McKinsey had noted. They also observe that an increased focus on resilience has prompted more companies to apply Operations 4.0 across their supply chains and operations. Success in this area depends on bringing together many aspects of technology, capabilities, and change management to create powerful digital ecosystems.
Teams can undoubtedly be the centre of that digital ecosystem. Used in conjunction with the Power Platform, it will enable you to make Teams your single pane of glass through which you can view all other systems related to collaboration, data, clinical trials and R&D. The use of tools like PowerBI can bring data analytics into Teams as well.
In an interesting case study that illustrates just what can be done, Lilly has been working towards a workplace where internal and external collaboration is central to enabling innovation and accelerating time-to-market for new medicines.
They have been using Microsoft Exchange Online and Office apps for years, but the enhanced interoperation between tools like Microsoft Teams and innovative devices such as Surface Hub and HoloLens has given them the opportunity to take collaboration to the next level.
Enhanced collaboration has driven productivity by helping the people at Lilly work faster. They are conducting around 300 pilot projects around the world within IT, research, and marketing departments that are using Microsoft Teams and its associated services as the principle mechanism for collaboration and communication.
They have found that when communication channels are oriented to a particular project, with workflows and documents all in one place, the process is far more efficient. Teams has also facilitated co-authoring—a significant benefit given the abundance of documentation the industry requires.
Perhaps best of all, with keeping budgets under control an ever-present requirement in the industry, Teams and in many cases Power Platform is already part of existing M365 licences and thus a highly efficient way to deliver the clear business benefits from enhanced collaboration.
Returning to McKinsey’s article, they also recognise that IT has been a prime enabler of many of the changes seen in 2020: expanded data sets, flexible access to cloud computing capacity (projected to account for 46% of IT spending in 2021), and huge shifts to remote working, virtual engagement, and online collaboration.
They acknowledge that questions concerning technology and infrastructure are claiming much more attention from business leaders than ever before. Successful companies, McKinsey maintains, will learn lessons from the recent disruption as they shape an agile IT plan around their business priorities.
Turning their focus away from sunk costs in legacy systems designed for the pre-2019 era, these companies will embrace a vision of the technologies needed to support a future in which ways of working will be fundamentally different.
It will already be clear to industry technology leaders that the Microsoft technology stack presents the ideal basis for delivering digital transformation across the organisation. However, our significant experience in this area tells us that using these tools out of the box and deploying them to end-users, as good as they are, is rarely enough to deliver the desired business benefits.
This is doubly true when migrating or integrating services from legacy systems, such as PBX phone systems. Mapping functionality over to Teams is critical, but so too is clearly defining the process and governance requirements needed to ensure successful adoption.
This is where working with a Microsoft partner that truly understands the technology and the needs of the biopharma industry pays dividends. Understanding the needs of distributed teams across multiple locations, working at both company sites or remotely, and building a digital ecosystem with its associated processes, policies and training requirements can be a real challenge. Choosing the right partner for this journey is critical.
Resonate is perfectly placed to help any pharma or biotech company that shares McKinsey’s point of view that this is the way forward. We can help you leverage existing investment in Microsoft 365 to deliver for the new ways of working. M365 gives you Teams and Power Platform which, used in conjunction with Azure, provide the platform on which to build a totally flexible and scalable architecture that facilitates agile working practices.
Better still, Teams Voice can bring all your collaboration, including voice, onto a single platform that is fully accessible remotely. Combining this with PowerApps and PowerBI gives you the capability to boost efficiency and collaboration massively and contribute to agile working practices that will enable you to get products to market faster and more cost-effectively.
If you would like to find out more about what Resonate could do for your pharma or biotech organisation book a call with one of our sector specialists here.